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Evaporating sessile droplets: internal flow and pattern formation

Project Description

Durham University is seeking applications from suitably qualified individuals interested in pursuing a PhD programme of study as part of a broad ranging and exciting EPSRC funded collaborative research venture entitled “Evaporative drying of droplets and the formation of micro-structured and functional particles and films”. This £2.2M project brings together the universities of Bristol, Durham and Leeds and 12 companies comprising both multinationals and small to medium enterprises to address a number of crucially important, interrelated topics.

The evaporation of droplets residing on a solid surface perform an essential role across a wide range of industrial processes and end-user applications: from ink-jet manufacturing to crop protection; from spray drying to encapsulation; from nebulisers to organic electronics. In general, the liquids involved are complex formulations containing active ingredients, binders, dispersants, adjuvants, polymers, etc. The function of the deposit left behind following evaporation depends critically on the morphology, distribution and phase of these components, yet the route to their formation remains poorly understood. There are many reasons as to why: they may be very far from equilibrium; mass, momentum and heat transfer are strongly coupled; interactions between droplets lead to asymmetric drying or coalescence; droplets are typically small (10–200 μm diameter) and timescales short (<< 1s to a few minutes). The focus will be the development of a high-fidelity, three-dimensional, deterministic continuum model for use in predicting the underlying behaviour associated with the drying of droplets. The over-arching goal is a model capable of explaining what is observed in practise. The holder of the studentship will join a vibrant, multidisciplinary research team comprised of engineers, chemists, mathematicians and physicists working alongside industrial experts, offering an exciting and extensive research training opportunity whatever the career aspirations of the successful applicant might be. More specifically, the project will provide specialist training in both the use and development of state-of-the-art numerical, modelling and CFD methods, all of which represent an attractive and widely transferable skill set.

Candidate Requirements

We are interested to hear from graduates in engineering (chemical, mechanical, process), mathematics, physics, computer science and related subjects, with a keen interest in becoming part of the above project and holding, or due to graduate with 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent). As well as having excellent communication skills, written and verbal, experience of one or more of the following topics would be advantageous: fluid mechanics, mathematical modelling, numerical methods, computer programming, high-performance computing, CFD.

Funding Notes

The UK/EU studentship is fully funded for 3.5 years with a tax-free stipend at the Funding Body rate (£14,777 for 2018/19).


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[2] H. Hu and R.G. Larson, Langmuir 21(9), 3963 (2005).
[3] H. Hu and R.G. Larson, Langmuir 21(9), 3972 (2005).
[4] R.G. Larson, Aiche Journal 60(5), 1538 (2014).
[5] X. Zhong, A. Crivoi, and F. Duan, Advances in Colloid and Interface Science 217, 13 (2015).

How good is research at Durham University in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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